business for non business people

At my current company we are building clinic managment tools for psychologists, counslers and therapists. so I found myself attending several conventions and talking to a variety of people from the mental health industry.

One thing that was apparent from the very beginning is that there was a great need that these professionals have for help in managing their businesses, and even more so due to the lack of self confidence over their ability to run the business part of a successful private practice.

While every proffesion feels thier trade is unique, i find that these feelings are not only to be found with mental health profetionals. everywhere you go you’ll find people saying “I wish they have taught more business at (fill your proffession here) school”.

That being said, there is one key difference between other professionals and therapists: They are more likely to open a private practice and become self-employed, which is a synonym for being entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur is something that is hard to learn formally,and in many cases is something that you find yourself doing after learning a “real” profession. I guess that’s why many entrepreneurs are self taught. Even most business schools are oriented at big companies and corporations, and not so much at one-(wo)man shows.

On the positive side, therapists have the benefit of having the “people skills” which so many other people lack. I, for example, am a true techy nerd who dreaded human interaction for the most part, and I have found myself making a switch, reaching out to people and even enjoying it. If I could make a switch, so do you.

At this point you may ask, what can I do? Well, admitting there is a problem is the first step for a solution. (Spend some time with psychologists, and you’ll also pick up their lingo…)

Next comes a list of topics. Letting people know you are there, and even more importantly, that you can help them. Transforming those people into paying clients, effectively managing your time and so many other elements. The good news are that you don’t have to do everything the hard way and that there are many tools (including ours) that can make your life easier in that respect. I’ll get to that in following posts.

But the most important thing is to start educating yourself. Learning is a continuous process and does not stop when you get your diploma. And It doesn’t have to be a tedious style of learning. The occasional blog reading can take you a long way. I have learned a huge part of what I know through ideas I read about at Joel Spolsky’s blog for example. In the mental health industry, I have found that Ben Caldwell and Norm Dasenbrook have some pretty interesting ideas laid out on their blogs, and that there are general concepts that are always true, like you’ll find over at Seth Godin’s blog.

So go ahead, take the plunge and give it a try. Not everything will work out, but it’s going to be fun ( and if not, I’m always here to help).

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